Steps to Management Success – Step 27: Careful with the Company’s Money—It May Want It Back

Written By Rick Frishman Published March 31st, 2010

STEP TWENTY-SEVEN

Careful with the Company’s Money—It May Want It Back

It’s easy to treat an expense account as an open invitation to live large. Lots of people do just that—but don’t be one of them. You don’t have to count paper clips or eat at greasy-spoon diners—simply recognize that in your professional role, you are being entrusted with (among other things) the responsibility of acting as the company’s caretaker of cash.

WHAT IT MEANS: Treat the company’s money at least as carefully as you handle your own. This doesn’t mean that you can’t splurge once in a while for a great restaurant meal for your team, but easy does it. More often than not, you should avoid dining at the most expensive restaurants in town. Let them be other people’s expense account picks, not yours. By doing so, the message you’ll convey, both to your managers and your subordinates, is that you’re a bit cautious and conservative—both good qualities for anyone who manages or handles other people’s money.

Making people more aware of how much money the company is spending on them can be a good management communications strategy too. People tend to underestimate what they don’t know—so if the company is paying for health insurance premiums or investing so many dollars per employee in training, that information is worth letting employees know. To be sure, not every employee will appreciate knowing the cost of each fringe benefit, but the numbers do offer tangible and objective proof that real money was spent—and that in itself can make a positive impression.

ACTION PLAN: Get bids or check prices from various suppliers to make sure you are getting competitive prices. If you haven’t done this in a while, do it now. Shop around for good deals on airfare, office supplies, computer equipment, whatever. You don’t have to be a cost analyst to be concerned about costs—and being consistently cost conscious can have a very healthy impact on your company’s profitability.

EVEN BETTER: Discuss expenses with your coworkers and staff. Question anything you don’t understand. You may be viewed as a bit of a killjoy or tightwad, but the bottom line is that it’s not their money—and part of your job is to be prudent about all expenditures. Regularly monitoring all expenses is one clear way to send that message to one and all.

(Excerpted from: 10 Clowns Don’t Make a Circus. . . and 249 Other Critical Management Success Strategies by Steven Schragis and Rick Frishman)


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